6 Different Japanese Superlatives to help you Express Yourself!
Ever ate that one dish that made you go like “Wow, that’s SUPER delicious!” or saw that one product that made you go like: “Err… That’s RIDICULOUSLY expensive”? Well, as much as we do use superlatives in our everyday lives, Japanese people do use them as well!. As such, let’s go through some of the most commonly-used Japanese superlatives today!
The first word we’ll be looking at today would be 超, read as Chou or Cho. When translated to English, the word would mean “Super” and more often than not, you might come across someone saying this in Japanese:
Romaji: Are wa chou otoku na shouhin desu
English: That is a SUPER value-for-money product.
In the above sentence, お得 (Otoku) refers to value-for-money while 超 (Chou) would refer to “Super”. Well, now that you know about it, remember to keep a lookout for some seasonal sales and 超お得な商品’s when you are in Japan!👀
As for other uses, you can also use 超 (Chou) to describe someone who is extraordinary, a life saver or even a superhero! Simply attach a 人 (Jin) to the end of 超 (Chou) and you’ll end up with 超人 (Choujin), also known as a superhero!
Next, let’s take a look at the word めちゃめちゃ (Mechamecha). The word in itself would mean that something is absurd, extreme or ridiculous. However, when you use it as an adverb, you can also use it to describe various situations as a superlative. Take a look at the following example:
Romaji: Kyou mecha mecha samui desu yo ne?
English: It’s ridiculously cold today, ain’t it?
As opposed to using 寒い (Samui) as a standalone I-Adjective, adding めちゃめちゃ (Mechamecha) as an adverb helps to further emphasise how cold and extreme the weather really was.
Alternatively, you can also drop one めちゃ (Mecha) and simply just use a single めちゃ (Mecha) as an adverb as well. With these in mind, why not try using the word out for yourself!
Moving on to look at one of the more common superlative words, we have とても/とっても (Totemo/Tottemo) which can be used as an adverb to mean “very”. Here’s a sample sentence on how you can use it:
Romaji: Ano aidoru wa totemo kirei desu yo ne
English: That idol sure is very pretty, isn’t she?
Alternatively, you can also choose to use とっても (Tottemo) instead of the usual とても (Totemo) to help you stress and place more emphasis on your opinion. For example, the change can be as simple as how “really pretty” is different from that of “REALLY pretty”.
Compared to Everything else
If you are looking to express something as being the cream of the crop, 何より/何よりも (Naniyori/Naniyorimo) might just be the word for you! In this case, 何 (Nani) refers to “Whatever/Anything”, より (Yori) refers to “Compared to” while も (Mo) refers to “Even”. When put together, these would mean something along the lines of “(Even) when compared to everything else…”. It may sound relatively complex but here is an example in which you can use both of them!
Romaji: Watashi wa haha ga nani yori mo daisuki desu
English: I love mom more than anything
激 (Geki), also another superlative, can be prefixed onto any I-Adjective to make it “Extremely ___”. Here are some examples:
激辛 (Gekikara) – Extremely Spicy
激寒 (Gekisamu) – Extremely Cold
激熱 (Gekiatsu) – Extremely Hot
Although these are not commonly used in daily conversation, knowing how to read and identify these words may certainly come in handy one day. Why? Well, in Japan, you might come across some food stalls serving dishes that are 激辛 (Gekikara). Unless you’re up for an unpleasant stomach or would like to train your spice-tolerance level😡, we’d recommend that you keep a distance from these dishes and opt for the not-so-spicy ones 😇😇
And last but not least, we look at the word 最高 (Saikou), or what we’d call “The Best”. Talking about saving “The Best” for the last, this word is made up of 2 characters: 最 (Sai) and 高 (Kou). 最 (Sai) refers to “Most” while 高 (Kou) refers to “Tall/High”. When put together, these 2 Kanji characters mean something along the lines of “The Best” and can usually be used to describe a feeling, situation or object. Here is an example in which the word can be used:
Romaji: Sakki no eiga wa saikou datta
English: The movie just now was absolutely the best!
After having learnt all of these superlatives, it’s about time that you finally put them to use! With practice, we’re sure that you would become VERY fluent in Japanese and even someday, become RIDICULOUSLY good or even THE BEST!